Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Wednesday's regular session:
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -1.6%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -1.2%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.4%
United States Oil Fund ( USO ): -0.5%
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -2%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV continued to trade lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.5%.
U.S. stocks were mostly lower at session's half, with the financial sector was leading decliners among the eleven S&P 500 sectors, while technology shares continued to outperform and recoup last week's heavy losses.
In economic data news, wholesale prices were unchanged in October but were down 0.2% excluding the volatile food and fuel segment. This compares to estimates for the nominal PPI to increase 0.3% and the core to rise by 0.2%.
Next, in capacity utilization in October slipped to 75.3% from 75.4% while industrial production was unchanged, both missing expectations to stay unchanged at 75.4% and increase by 0.1%, respectively.
Finally, the government reported a gain in the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations to 2.0%, and the November housing market index to remain unchanged at 63.
Power Play: Health Care
Health care funds were lower, behind the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were lower. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.2%.
StemCells (STEM) rose 35% after the company unveiled an asset purchase agreement with Boco Silicon Valley, a wholly-owned unit of Bright Oceans Corp. StemCells will sell to Boco certain stem and progenitor cell lines that it has been researching, studying or manufacturing since 2007 for $4 million in cash.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 2.1% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 1.7%.
Royal Bank Scotland (RBS) American depository shares were down 3% after Reuters cited U.K. Financial Investments, which manages the governments stake in the bank, as saying it could face a settlement between $5 billion and $12 billion with U.S. authorities over mis-selling of mortgage-based securities. The report cited James Leigh-Pemberton, chairman of the UKFI as saying "It could be $5 billion, it could be $12 billion, it could be more." Leigh-Pemberton said the settlement is hindering the government's share sale plans.
Tech funds were higher, ahead of the broader market. Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were in the green. Meanwhile, SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.7%..
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.1%.
NETSOL Technologies (NTWK) rose 6.2% after it said it has set up a stock buyback program that authorizes repurchases of up to 0.5 million shares over the next six months. NETSOL expects to fund the repurchase with its existing cash balance including cash generated from operations.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 2.2% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 2.1%.
BP (BP) slipped more than 1% after Reuters said the company plans to cut between 50 and 80 salaried positions at the company's 413,500-barrel-per-day refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Union-represented hourly and salaried employees at the refinery, which is BP's largest in the United States, will not be affected by the layoffs, said spokesman Michael Abendhoff in the story. The company did not offer a time line for the cuts. The cuts would represent 3% to 4% of the total workforce of 1,800 employees and contractors, Reuters noted.
Crude was up 4.7%. United States Oil Fund ( USO ) was up 3.3%. Natural gas was down 0.9% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.7%.
Gold was up 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.6%. Silver was up 1% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1.1%.
Consumer staples funds were firmer, outperforming the broader market. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were higher.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were in positive territory.
U.S. Auto Parts Network (PRTS) was up 12.7% after it said late Tuesday that it has approved the repurchase of up to $5 million of the company's common stock. The repurchase program is expected to continue through March 4, 2017 unless extended or shortened by the board of directors. In addition, U.S. Auto Parts has amended its credit agreement with JPMorgan Chase to, among other things, extend the term of the agreement for an additional three years through April 26, 2020.
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